The storms caused heavy flooding in parts of western and central Europe overnight, and a man swept away by a raging stream in eastern Germany remained missing on Wednesday.
Firefighters resumed their search for the man in the town of Joehstadt, Saxony, on Wednesday morning. German news agency dpa reported that he had been trying to protect his property from rising waters when he went missing.
Firefighters in the town of Hagen in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia rescued several drivers whose vehicles were stuck in a flooded underpass. Videos on social media showed streets in the western German city knee-deep in water and others buried by landslides.
A fallen tree trapped a woman in the German town of Mettmann, and responders had to hold her head high to prevent her from drowning in rising waters until firefighters could free her. Residents of nearby Erkrath were warned not to shower or use their washing machines as rain had overloaded the local sewage system.
Bavaria’s Hof county issued a disaster alert on Tuesday evening as basements filled with water, trees were uprooted and some areas lost power overnight. The German weather service DWD said the area received 80 liters (more than 21 gallons) of rain per square meter in 12 hours.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert described the images from the areas hardest hit by the floods as dire.
Although not all local events, floods or incidents are linked to climate change, many scientists tell us that the frequency, intensity and regularity with which this occurs is a consequence of climate change, a said Seibert.
DWD meteorologists predicted further extreme storms in western and central Germany until Thursday, with maximum rainfall of up to 200 liters per square meter.
In the neighboring Czech Republic, firefighters received 800 calls about incidents ranging from fallen trees to flooded basements. A highway linking the capital, Prague, to the east of the country was partly flooded overnight. Thousands of homes were left without power on Wednesday.
Mud flooded homes in some towns in eastern Belgium as sustained rains hit the Ardennes hills hard. The tourist center of Spa, close to the famous Formula 1 circuit, could not withstand the water streaming from the surrounding hills which turned the streets into rivers.
Cars piled on top of each other and cellars were flooded, but no serious injuries were reported.
The Belgian meteorological institute issued a red alert on Wednesday for the area around Liège, about 100 km (60 miles) east of Brussels, which is expected to receive more rain in a day than the region would normally receive. for a whole summer month. The rain is expected to last through Friday.
Dutch authorities have warned that heavy rains in the southern province of Limburg could turn streams into dangerously flowing torrents and urged the public to stay away from them. Boat owners have been advised to avoid the Meuse due to strong currents and debris being washed downstream.
Dutch media showed people were rescued on Tuesday from a historic mill in the Netherlands partially submerged by floodwaters estimated to be 1.5 meters (5ft) high.
The swollen rivers were expected to overflow their floodplains later in the week, which is unusual in the summer. This happens more often in the spring when rivers such as the Rhine and the Meuse rise due to melting snow in European hills and mountains.
In Switzerland, the authorities have raised the flood alert for Lake Lucerne to the highest level and prohibited all navigation.
France’s national meteorological service issued warnings for five regions in the northeast of the country on Wednesday. region. Much of France has experienced an unusually cool and wet summer so far.
Meanwhile, parts of southeastern Europe experienced a heat wave. Temperatures in Albania and neighboring Kosovo reached 35-37 degrees Celsius (95-99 F) on Wednesday.
No deaths have been reported to date due to the heat wave. Authorities are urging the public, especially children and the elderly, to stay home during the day.
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